ST. LOUIS — One day after Kim Gardner announced her upcoming resignation as St. Louis Circuit Attorney, the Missouri Attorney General is pushing for her to leave office earlier than planned.
After months of calls, requests, and demands for her to resign, Gardner will officially step down on June 1. Before this announcement, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey had challenged Gardner with a quo warranto lawsuit, accusing her of neglecting her duties as circuit attorney.
Bailey visited St. Louis on Friday and spoke one-on-one with sister station KTVI about Gardner’s announcement and his next steps.
“Yesterday was an encouraging development, that the circuit attorney has noticed an indication to vacate the office on June 1,” Bailey said.
“But until such time that she is gone, and there are structural mechanisms in place to prevent this from ever happening again, we are going to continue to pursue the quo warranto action. Because right now, she is still in office.”
Bailey led the charge to oust Gardner and doesn’t want to wait until June 1 for her departure.
“I’d rather see her leave immediately,” Bailey said. “I’m concerned about the damage she can do between now and June 1. Her office has been described as a ‘rudderless ship of chaos.’ So I’m not sure [if] she’s going to be capable of an orderly transition when she can’t even show up to court because she is attending nursing classes.”
At some point in the future, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson will appoint a circuit attorney to finish Kim Gardner’s term, which will be up when voters elect a new circuit attorney next year.
Parson said in a statement Thursday that he is committed to finding a candidate who represents the St. Louis community, values and public safety.
As for Gardner, our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained audio recordings of her from Thursday thanking her staff members for their hard work and informing them of her June 1 resignation.
“I brought you here not just to send condolences to our staff,” Gardner said in the audio recording. “I want to thank you guys for being with me every step of the way. I want to thank you for being the dedicated professionals I know you are. I know, because of me, you guys have been criticized, have been traumatized. … Because of that, I’m going to resign.”
In her resignation letter publicized Thursday, Gardner speaks about fighting to preserve the fundamental voting rights of St. Louis against what she calls “people outside of the city” who are trying to advance agendas.
For more reactions from Bailey, Parson and other Missouri officials and lawmakers over Gardner’s resignation, click here.